Workers are deep into construction of the first two tiers of the new crew access tower for Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Boeing and United Launch Alliance are building the tower so astronauts and ground support teams can access the CST-100 spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station. Offsite construction of the tiers was essential to be able to sustain the launch schedule of the Atlas V rocket – which will carry the CST-100 – and still provide a human-rated service structure NASA needs for its Commercial Crew flights.
The first two structures will be outfitted with nearly everything they will need at the launch pad except wiring and the elevator shafts before they are stacked and trucked over to the launch pad. It will take seven tiers to complete the 200-foot-tall structure. While the tiers are assembled a few miles away, workers at SLC-41 are preparing the foundation of the structure. Pile drivers, cement trucks and other heavy equipment are establishing a firm support base for the tower.